Latest Updates to the Canada Labour Code: Everything federally regulated employers need to know
The Federal Government has released new rules for federally regulated employers (“FREs”) that came into force on July 9, 2023 (the “effective date”). These new rules require FREs to provide existing employees with a written employment statement within 90 days of the effective date and to provide new employees with a written employment statement within 30 days of employment. FREs also have to provide employees with a revised employment statement within thirty days of any changes.
Employment statements must include the following information:
- names of the parties to the employment relationship
- job title and a brief description of the duties and responsibilities
- place of work and address
- employment start date
- term of employment;
- length of probationary period, if any
- a description of the necessary qualifications for the position
- a description of any required training for the position
- hours of work for the employee (including calculations) and overtime rules
- rate of wages or salary (including overtime rates)
- frequency of pay days, payments and other remuneration
- any mandatory deductions from wages
- information on how the employee will be reimbursed for reasonable work-related expenses, which has to happen within thirty days of submitting a claim unless an alternative written arrangement exists.
The regulations also require FREs to provide employees with information about their rights and the obligations of FREs under Part III of the Canada Labour Code
within 90 days of the later of July 9, 2023 and the date on which the Ministry of Labour makes the materials available. New employees must be provided with these materials within 30 days of starting work, and FREs are required to evergreen those materials as the Ministry makes changes as well as ensure the materials are posted and accessible. FREs also have to provide discharged employees with the most recent materials related to the termination of an employee on or before their last day of work.
Collective bargaining agreements and human rights legislation may impose higher or lower requirements on FREs depending on their provisions, and employment arrangements that vary from the formal job description relating to the position may pose other pitfalls including questions around constructive dismissal. FREs should carefully parse the contents of existing employment arrangements, company policies, and any applicable collective bargaining agreements to pull together all of the information relevant to each employee for their employment statements by the deadlines, and large workplaces or workplaces with a large number of remote workers may have difficulty meeting their obligations within the strict timelines mandated by the new rules.
FREs now also have to develop policies related to whether an expense is “work related” and/or “reasonable”, considering factors such as: the connection between the expense and the employee’s performance of the work, whether the expense enabled the employee to do their work, and whether the employee had to incur the expense as a condition of employment or continued employment.
Penalties for not providing employees with the required employment information range from $200 to $2000 per occurrence, and penalties for failing to reimburse reasonable work expenses range from $500 to $6000 per occurrence, in both cases depending on the size of the FRE.